The Douglas County wheat harvest is expected to gather steam rapidly this afternoon and Friday as rain-dampened wheat and fields dry out.
Some area wheat, however, already has suffered from excessive rain, one elevator manager said.
Area grain elevator managers said this morning that they have received varying amounts and quality of wheat during the early stages of the harvest, but all of them expect conditions to stabilize shortly.
All of the managers reported higher average yields than the predicted statewide average of 39 bushels per acre.
Melvin Lang, branch manager of the Farmers Co-op's north elevator, said late this morning that the elevator received its the first load of 1990 wheat about a week ago.
Since then, Lang estimated, the elevator has taken in about 20,000 bushels of grain, most of which he said is of good quality.
Most of the wheat Lang has seen has ranged from 56 pounds per bushel to 60 pounds per bushel. Farmers whose wheat weighs less than 60 pounds per bushel receive a discounted price.
LANG ALSO said most of the wheat has been relatively dry. Most has been in the 11 percent to 12 percent moisture range, well below the highest acceptable moisture level of 13.5 percent, he said.
Most of the wheat delivered to the north elevator has been cut north and west of Lawrence, Lang said, adding that he expects to see a lot more wheat soon.
"Things will probably really get rolling today," he said. "Mud has been slowing some of them down, but it's drying out."
Jill Morgison at the co-op's south elevator estimated the elevator had taken in about 15,000 bushels of wheat since the first load was delivered early this week. Elevator workers and farmers have been pleasantly surprised by the wheat quality, she said.
"It's been real good better than we thought it would be," she said.
Wheat at the south elevator has been averaging between 58 pounds and 60 pounds, Morgison said. Its moisture content has been ranging between 11 percent and 12 percent, she said. The wettest wheat delivered at the elevator so far had a 13 percent moisture content, she said.
THE FARMERS Elevator in Eudora also has taken in about 15,000 bushels of wheat since Monday, according to manager Don Harris. However, Harris said he has been disappointed with the wheat quality.
Although the loads have been ranging between 51 pounds per bushel and 62 pounds per bushel, Harris estimated that the grain has been averaging about 56 pounds per bushel.
Harris attributed the poor weights to scab, a fungus that grows on wet wheat and causes it to shrivel and to weigh less.
Harris said his moisture contents have ranged from 11 percent all the way to 14.9 percent.
"We've had too darn much rain," he said.
Mike Murray, manager of the Midland Elevator north of Lawrence, said his weights were running from 56 pounds per bushel up to 63 pounds per bushel with moisture levels from 11 percent to 15 percent.
As of about 11 a.m. today, area wheat prices were: Farmers Co-op north, $3.16; Farmers Co-op south, $3.09; Eudora, $3.17; and Midland, $3.18.
Elsewhere, rain has delayed this year's harvest in small portions of central Kansas. However, the showers were isolated and didn't impede cutting in a wide area.
GRAIN HANDLERS reported test weights still in the 58-60 pound per bushel range with yields from 30-60 bushels per acre. The harvest is approaching the halfway point in many areas.
Cutting is even winding down in Sumner and Cowley counties.
Also, disappointing yield reports continued to surface around the state.
In Harper County, bushel yields per acre were in the low 30s, about average. In the Chanute area, where cutting is about 5 percent complete, yields were reported from 10 to 35 bushels per acre with test weights averaging 55 pounds per bushel.